Afro-Basketball tourney hangs in balance, again

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The All Africa Games and Afro-Basketball qualifying tournament postponed last December and was supposed to be held this month, has been moved again.

The tournament is expected to be held next month, but there are doubts as it might clash with an International Basketball Federation (FIBA) event.

Bulawayo is the host city for the tournament that was initially supposed to be held last November but clashed with the Africa Club Championships in Mozambique and had to be moved to January 17 before the new February 21 date.

Botswana had supported the move with seven of their players scheduled to take part in the Africa Club Championships in Mozambique a few days before the Afro-Basket tournament. BDF V’s Osego Sechele, Monica Tlou, Resego Moepeng and Katlego Mogae would have been affected had the tournament been held on the scheduled date with their club one of the Club Championships’ participants.

Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) national team coach, James Kalebwe confirmed the new date, but indicated there could be a clash again next month.

“The calendars are a mess, the ladies’ tournament dates are clashing with a game in Gaborone. Botswana will be hosting a southern African country in Gaborone on the same weekend and I fear they may have to change the tournament dates again,” Kalebwe told Mmegi Sport.

He, however, said preparations were still ongoing with a provisional squad still training at the BNYC in Gaborone.

“We have not stopped training; they are looking in good shape. We are waiting for the federation to finalise everything and FIBA to ensure all is set,” he said.

On the men’s side, the dates are all set and FIBA will try out a new format in which teams will play each other on a home and away basis.Botswana visit Mozambique in Maputo on the weekend of February 3 before visiting Swaziland a week later. “The men are training and their dates are already out. They play home and away. FIBA are just trying this out to see if it works. We do appreciate it is a bit costly, but we feel it is time we try this out. The countries could face problems because they have their financial issues,”  Kalebwe said.

Botswana is in the same group with Mozambique and Swaziland and will host the two teams in Gaborone at the end of February and early March. Meanwhile, the 2014 Afro Basket tournament brings together teams from countries that include South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Angola and the host nation. Only two teams will qualify for the Afro Basket and the All Africa Games next year.

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